No longer able to believe in the Church religion, whose falsehood they had detected, and incapable of accepting true Christian teaching, which denounced their whole manner of life, these rich and powerful people, stranded without any religious conception of life, involuntarily returned to that pagan view of things which places life's meaning in personal enjoyment. And then among the upper classes what is called the "Renaissance of science and art" took place, which was really not only a denial of every religion, but also an assertion that religion was unnecessary.
For I am not so enamored of my own opinions that I disregard what others may think of them. I am aware that a philosopher's ideas are not subject to the judgment of ordinary persons, because it is his endeavor to seek the truth in all things, to the extent permitted to human reason by God. Yet I hold that completely erroneous views should be shunned. Those who know that the consensus of many centuries has sanctioned the conception that the earth remains at rest in the middle of the heaven as its center would, I reflected, regard it as an insane pronouncement if I made the opposite assertion that the earth moves.
The distinction between identifying reference and uniquely existential assertion is something quite undeniable. The sense in which the existence of something answering to a definite description used for the purpose of identifying reference, and its distinguishability by an audience from anything else, is presupposed and not asserted in an utterance containing such an expression, so used, stands absolutely firm, whether or not one opts for the view that radical failure of the presupposition would deprive the statement of a truth-value. It remains a decisive objection to the theory of Descriptions … that … it amounts to a denial of these undeniable distinctions.
If we are honest — and scientists have to be — we must admit that religion is a jumble of false assertions, with no basis in reality. The very idea of God is a product of the human imagination. It is quite understandable why primitive people, who were so much more exposed to the overpowering forces of nature than we are today, should have personified these forces in fear and trembling. But nowadays, when we understand so many natural processes, we have no need for such solutions. I can't for the life of me see how the postulate of an Almighty God helps us in any way. What I do see is that this assumption leads to such unproductive questions as why God allows so much misery and injustice, the exploitation of the poor by the rich and all the other horrors He might have prevented. If religion is still being taught, it is by no means because its ideas still convince us, but simply because some of us want to keep the lower classes quiet. Quiet people are much easier to govern than clamorous and dissatisfied ones. They are also much easier to exploit. Religion is a kind of opium that allows a nation to lull itself into wishful dreams and so forget the injustices that are being perpetrated against the people. Hence the close alliance between those two great political forces, the State and the Church. Both need the illusion that a kindly God rewards — in heaven if not on earth — all those who have not risen up against injustice, who have done their duty quietly and uncomplainingly. That is precisely why the honest assertion that God is a mere product of the human imagination is branded as the worst of all mortal sins.
In most ways, human beings are not equal; and if we seek some characteristic that all of them possess, than this characteristic must be a kind of lowest common denominator, pitched so low that no human being lacks it. The catch is that any such characteristic that is possessed by all human beings will not be possessed only by human beings. For example, all human beings, but not only human beings, are capable of feeling pain; and while only human beings are capable of solving complex mathematical problems, not all humans can do this. So it turns out that in the only sense in which we can truly say, as an assertion of fact, that all humans are equal, at least some members of other species are also "equal" - equal, that is, to some humans.
While men represent powerful activity as assertion and aggression, women in contrast portray acts of nurturance as acts of strength.
The blues is an art of ambiguity, an assertion of the irrepressibly human over all circumstance whether created by others or by one's own human failings. They are the only consistent art in the United States which constantly remind us of our limitations while encouraging us to see how far we can actually go. When understood in their more profound implication, they are a corrective, an attempt to draw a line upon man's own limitless assertion.
Faith is the final triumph over incongruity, the final assertion of the meaningfulness of existence.
The world, and everyone in it is subject to environmental limits. Conventional economics believes that these limits are not there and anything can be substituted if the price is right. Acclaimed environmentalist Richard Heinberg disagrees. He thinks we have reached the end of two centuries of frenetic growth powered by fossil fuels. The current financial crisis is one of the symptoms of a system that is being wrecked, not just by debt but resource depletion and environmental devastation. [Central assertion of his book, "The End of Growth: Adapting to Our New Economic Reality"
There must, moreover, not only be this reference to myself in distinguishing my acts from all those things that are not acts, but it must be a reference to myself as an active being. Another perfectly natural way of expressing this notion of my activity is to say that, in acting, I make something happen, I cause it, or bring it about. Now it does seem odd that philosophers should construe this natural way of expressing the matter as really meaning, not that I, but rather some event, process, or state not identical with myself should be the cause of that which is represented as my act. It is plain that, whatever I am, I am never identical with any such event, process, or state as is usually proposed as the "real cause" of my act, such as some intention or state of willing. Hence, if it is really and unmetaphorically true, as I believe it to be, that I sometimes cause something to happen, this would seem to entail that it is false that any event, process, or state not identical with myself should be the real cause of it. But it is not, in fact, hard to see why philosophers should want to insist that these natural ways of expressing the matter really mean something quite different from what they seem to mean; namely, that it has been the firm conviction of most philosophers for generations that in the case of any event that occurs, another event must be at least part of its cause. If, accordingly, it is true that I am the cause of my acts, as it evidently is, then in view of this principle we must suppose that the real cause is some event intimately associated with me — and then, of course, the chase is on to find it or, failing that, at least to give it a name and create a semblance of having found it. The alternative I urge is that I am sometimes the cause of my own actions, that such an assertion is neither incomplete nor metaphorical and hence has no "real" meaning different from, much less inconsistent with, itself as it stands. In that case, however, we must conclude that the word "cause" in such contexts has not the ordinary meaning of a certain relationship between events, but has rather the older meaning of the efficacy or power of an agent to produce certain results. This idea can be otherwise expressed by saying that an agent is something that originates things, produces them, or brings them about. It might be wished that some clear definition or analysis of this idea of agency could be given, in place of merely synonymous expressions, but we have already seen that this cannot be done, and we have also seen why. To give an analysis of agency or of the sense in which an agent is the cause of his actions would amount to giving an analysis of an act, an analysis which would of necessity presuppose the truth of a metaphysical presupposition that is not only dubious, but probably false.
When the book appeared, a few reviewers found this plot incredible; they accused Professor O'Neal of having too little art to persuade them to suspend their disbelief in his assertion that Shakespeare was a precocious girl. Perhaps this was because they knew that the life of literary people is usually devoid of exciting external incident.
Trusting In Mind -
The Great Way is not difficult,
Just don’t pick and choose.
If you cut off all likes or dislikes
Everything is clear like space.
Make the slightest distinction
And heaven and earth are set apart.
If you wish to see the truth,
Don’t think for or against.
Likes and dislikes
Are the mind’s disease.
Without understanding the deep meaning
You cannot still your thoughts.
It is clear like space,
Nothing missing, nothing extra.
If you want something
You cannot see things as they are.
Outside, don’t get tangled in things.
Inside, don’t get lost in emptiness.
Be still and become One
And all opposites disappear.
If you stop moving to become still,
This stillness always moves.
If you hold on to opposites,
How can you know One?
If you don’t understand One,
This and that cannot function.
Denied, the world asserts itself.
Pursued, emptiness is lost.
The more you think and talk,
The more you lose the Way.
Cut off all thinking
And pass freely anywhere.
Return to the root and understand.
Chase appearances and lose the source.
One moment of enlightenment
Illuminates the emptiness before you.
Emptiness changing into things
Is only our deluded view.
Do not seek the truth.
Only put down your opinions.
Do not live in the world of opposites.
Be careful! Never go that way.
If you make right and wrong,
Your mind is lost in confusion.
Two comes from One,
But do not cling even to this One.
When your mind is undisturbed
The ten thousand things are without fault.
No fault, no ten thousand things,
No disturbance, no mind.
No world, no one to see it.
No one to see it, no world.
This becomes this because of that.
That becomes that because of this.
If you wish to understand both,
See them as originally one emptiness.
In emptiness the two are the same,
And each holds the ten thousand things.
If you no longer see them as different,
How can you prefer one to another?
The Way is calm and wide,
Not easy, not difficult.
But small minds get lost.
Hurrying, they fall behind.
Clinging, they go too far,
Sure to take a wrong turn,
Just let it be! In the end,
Nothing goes, nothing stays.
Follow nature and become one with the Way,
Free and easy and undisturbed.
Tied by your thoughts, you lose the truth,
Become heavy, dull, and unwell.
Not well, the mind is troubled.
Then why hold or reject anything?
If you want to get the One Vehicle
Do not despise the world of the senses.
When you do not despise the six senses,
That is already enlightenment.
The wise do not act.
The ignorant bind themselves.
In true Dharma there is no this or that,
So why blindly chase your desires?
Using mind to stir up the mind
Is the original mistake.
Peaceful and troubled are only thinking.
Enlightenment has no likes or dislikes.
All opposites arise
From faulty views.
Illusions, flowers in the air –
Why try to grasp them?
Win, lose, right, wrong –
Put it all down!
If the eye never sleeps,
Dreams disappear by themselves.
If the mind makes no distinctions,
The ten thousand things are one essence.
Understand this dark essence
And be free from entanglements.
See the ten thousand things as equal
And you return to your original nature
Enlightened beings everywhere
All enter this source.
This source is beyond time and space.
One moment is ten thousand years.
Even if you cannot see it,
The whole universe is before your eyes.
Infinitely small is infinitely large:
No boundaries, no differences.
Infinitely large is infinitely small:
Measurements do not matter here.
What is is the same as what is not.
What is not is the same as what is.
Where it is not like this,
Don’t bother staying.
One is all,
All is one.
When you see things like this,
You do not worry about being incomplete.
Trust and Mind are not two.
Not-two is trusting the Mind.
Words and speech don’t cut it,
Can’t now, never could, won’t ever.
Those who are more adapted to the active life can prepare themselves for contemplation in the practice of the active life, while those who are more adapted to the contemplative life can take upon themselves the works of the active life so as to become yet more apt for contemplation.
In spite of so many stubborn lies, at every moment, at every opportunity, the truth comes to light, the truth of life and death, of my solitude and my bond with the world, of my freedom and my servitude, of the insignificance and the sovereign importance of each man and all men. There was Stalingrad and there was Buchenwald, and neither of the two wipes out the other. Since we do not succeed in fleeing it, let us therefore try to look the truth in the face. Let us try to assume our fundamental ambiguity. It is in the knowledge of the genuine conditions of our life that we must draw our strength to live and our reason for acting.
If anyone has put his trust in him as a man without a human mind, he is wholly bereft of mind, and quite unworthy of salvation. For that which he has not assumed he has not healed; but that which is united to his Godhead is also saved.
The causes of life's history [cannot] resolve the riddle of life's meaning.
There are two species of presentation, the one apprehending a real object, the other not. The former, which they take to be the test of reality, is defined as that which proceeds from a real object, agrees with that object itself, and has been imprinted and stamped upon the mind: the latter, or non-apprehending, that which does not proceed from any real object, or, if it does, fails to agree with the reality itself, not being clear or distinct. [Diogenes]
I stand for the square deal. But when I say that I am for the square deal, I mean not merely that I stand for fair play under the present rules of the game, but that I stand for having those rules changed so as to work for a more substantial equality of opportunity and of reward for equally good service. One word of warning, which, I think, is hardly necessary in Kansas. When I say I want a square deal for the poor man, I do not mean that I want a square deal for the man who remains poor because he has not got the energy to work for himself. If a man who has had a chance will not make good, then he has got to quit. And you men of the Grand Army, you want justice for the brave man who fought, and punishment for the coward who shirked his work. Is that not so?
Sometimes a person begins with opinions and judgments and valid criticisms, but then things creep in that have nothing to do with forming opinions, and then it’s all over with strict logic, and what you end up with is an absurd world republic and beautiful style.
We are not the helpless slaves of technology, but as before - if only we wish to be - captains of our fate.... this argument of technological inevitability is also misleading because it depends entirely on extra-technical factors whether a certain technological process which, for example, favors mass production, is in actual fact really superior from the economic point of view or not.